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Being lost in an ancient Tevinter ruin in northern Rivain is highly overrated.

And then I found myself beset by several bands of Qunari, apparently working in concert. I fled and managed to hide in a little village by the name of Vindaar. The people there, mostly humans and a few elves, were devout followers of the Qun.

It was the most organized village I ever laid eyes on. The houses were identical and arranged along perfectly orthogonal lines. The fields were well tended and apparently communal. But there were signs of damage everywhere, as if the town had suffered repeated sieges: buildings shattered, fields burned, and a great many empty houses. I spent the night in the home of Vindaar's matriarch, who introduced herself only as, "Seer." When I tried to regale my hostess with the tale of my Qunari assailants, I discovered something.

Qunari, Seer said, are people who follow the Qun. Her people. Those born into Qunari society who reject the Qun are called Vashoth, which means "gray ones." These gray ones must leave their homes, for they have no place among the Qunari. Sadly, many turn against the society that cast them out.

These outcasts call themselves Tal-Vashoth, "the true gray ones." Often, they have no skills to make an honest living, so they sell themselves into service, usually becoming mercenaries. Even the most inept fighter among the Qunari race possesses prodigious size and an intimidating visage. These, she informed me, were my attackers in the countryside, the same band that wreaked such havoc on Vindaar.

The Tal-Vashoth wage a bitter war against the Qun, the Qunari, and sometimes against order itself. They are no match for the Qunari army, so they generally strike at farms, travelers, and those who stray too far from Qunari protection. I was lucky to escape with my life.

—From In Pursuit of Knowledge: The Travels of a Chantry Scholar, by Brother Genitivi